The client has been designing and supplying products to enhance the independence and quality of life for people with special needs for more than forty years. They are regarded as leaders in Electronic Assistive Technology (EAT), Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and Environmental Control Systems (ECS) and are approved suppliers of Electronic Assistive Technology products and services to the NHS.
The brief was to work alongside the clients own software and electronic design team and to develop a mechanical design for a fully featured, loud speaking, remote control telephone and answering machine with communication aid functions. The phone would be used by disabled persons in their own home and would integrate with a range of Environmental Controllers whilst still functioning as a standard telephone apparatus for able persons.
The first stage was to prepare a full specification for the product with the client, including a user methodology. This stage was followed by an extensive concept design stage where several different internal arrangements were explored with the client to achieve a compact design based around a large, high quality loud speaker and an emergency battery backup. Once the build was agreed, drawings of the PCBs were issued to the clients own engineers for simultaneous development. The external enclosure was developed using 3D CAD and several concepts presented as 3D visualizations and ergonomic form models.
The project required close collaboration with the clients own engineers to develop the PCBs and resolved issues with component placing. The final design was achieved using rapid prototypes and prototype PCB's prior to commissioning all tooling from 3D data and 2D control drawings. Rapid prototypes were invaluable in resolving issues of audio separation in both the Handset and the Base and evaluating snap fits and their placement. The project was strongly supported by the client.